Yoga party - benefits of yoga for men
by P. Myatt Murphy | Dec, 1998
hey, it's not our fault that men are yoga-shy. The very word sparks images of flower-strewn rooms filled with cross-legged women humming cuts from Chant. Besides, a desk jockey doesn't have the time to sit around breathing when he could be getting a real workout. Wrong on both counts.
"Guys are the most resistant to yoga, yet they often have the most to gain," says Vince Serecin, yoga instructor at New York Sports Clubs in Manhattan. "It's one of the most practical workouts around because [the combination of stretches and resistance exercises] simultaneously strengthens and loosens the body. It's designed to alleviate everything from stiff backs and sore muscles to low energy and work-related stress. Taking even 15 minutes to concentrate on your body instead of business clears your mind of any distractions, letting you focus on your job."
Are there any other barriers between yoga and the Y chromosome? "Well, guys may hate to admit it, but yoga can be an ego-crippler," admits Serecin, who has seen men walk into his class thinking it would be easy, only to watch them leave discouraged. "But not being strong or flexible enough is all the more reason why you should be doing it. All it takes is one session to point out which areas of your body need the most improvement."
Years of weightlifting and weekend sports - particularly without consistent stretching - can shorten tendons, eventually pulling the spine out of alignment and leading to chronic back pain. Yoga brings fluid back into stiffening joints while loosening up taut ligaments, and it can even release gravity-induced stress built up within the spine. "Regular sessions can help correct the alignment of the spinal column, improving your overall posture," says Serecin. "You'll not only appear taller, but being able to stand straighter will help you breathe deeper, giving you extra endurance for exercise or sports or just to have more energy throughout the day."
It's hard to believe that something so low-impact can boost stamina, but yoga's deep, controlled breathing means more oxygen is distributed throughout your body as energy. Similarly, each time you stretch a muscle, your body responds by bringing in more oxygenated blood. Your muscles use the oxygen to stay active longer, and the process also helps flush out excess lactic acid, preventing post-workout soreness.
Finding your own personal yogi (yoga master) isn't difficult. Many health clubs, hospitals and colleges offer some type of open class, or you can call the American Yoga Association at 941-927-4977 to find a certified instructor in your area.
Still wary? You can try the simple routine on these pages in less than 10 minutes. Do these four moves by themselves or after your regular workout three times a week to start, then four times, then five. Some of the moves may feel awkward at first, but stick with them. Flexibility takes patience, and it pays off down the road. If a pose hurts, you may be exceeding your limits. "Your body is your best teacher," says Serecin. "Listen to what it's telling you, and you'll never push yourself harder than you should."
6 yoga tips
BEFORE YOU HIT THE GROUND, KNOW THE GROUND RULES. HERE ARE SERECIN'S WORKOUT HINTS:
1. LOSE THE SHOES. GOING BAREFOOT AIDS STABILITY AND RELAXATION.
2. IF IT BINDS, YOU WON'T UNWIND. WEAR T-SHIRT, SHORTS OR SWEATS THAT ALLOW YOU TO STRETCH COMFORTABLY.
3. SILENCE IS GOLDEN. AVOID ANY NOISES, INCLUDING MUSIC, THAT MAY DISTRACT YOU FROM CONCENTRATING.
4. TAKE A GOOD LOOK. BEING ABLE TO SEE YOURSELF IN A MIRROR WILL HELP YOU MONITOR YOUR FORM.
5. PUT YOUR LOTUS IN LOW. FEEL FREE TO HOLD POSITIONS FOR LESS TIME OR NOT STRETCH AS FAR UNTIL YOU'RE READY TO DO SO.
Zen Yahweh Fitness® will help you achieve your goals with accredited training and positive encouragement to help you stay focused as you continue to commit to your goals of an active life style, with balanced nutrition. Zen Yahweh Fitness will tailor an exercise program for your specific needs and encourage regular attendance to workouts, because consistency of regular training and alternating workout variants, accompanied by portion control and a balanced diet are key to your success!